Two Men Charged in Internet Rape Case

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The popular classified advertising Web site, Craigslist, may be tightening its regulations for those who wish to post under its “adult services” category, after two men who corresponded through the site were arrested for rape.

The crime began when Jebidiah James Stipe, 27, allegedly posted an advertisement on Craigslist, posing as his ex-girlfriend and soliciting an encounter to fulfill a rape fantasy. “Need a real aggressive man with no concern for women,” the ad read in part. It also contained pictures and some personal information about the woman, whose name has not been released.

After the woman complained to Craigslist and the Natrona County Sheriff’s Department, the advertisement was taken down—but not before Ty Oliver McDowell, 26, saw it and took down the contact email that it included. He began corresponding with someone whom he thought was a woman with a rape fantasy, but was instead Stipe. Stipe, a private first-class in the U.S. Marine Corps, was attempting to exact revenge on his ex-girlfriend by posting the ad on Craigslist.

According to authorities, McDowell assaulted the woman at her front door, raped her at knifepoint, and left her bound on the floor. He is now facing three counts of first-degree assault, one count of aggravated burglary and one count of kidnapping.

McDowell reportedly waived his right to remain silent when arrested, and spoke with deputies about his involvement in the case. Although admitting that he went to the woman’s home, assaulted her and had sexual contact with her, he also said that he thought the encounter was consensual because it was simulating a rape fantasy.

Stipe is charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree sexual assault, and will also face disciplinary action by the USMC. According to a Marine Corps spokesperson, Stipe “was being processed for administrative separation as a result of a pattern of misconduct at the time of his arrest.”

Craigslist agreed to begin charging for “adult services” advertisements, and to require a valid phone number for those placing the ads, in 2008, as part of an agreement with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The site, which has categories for buying and selling items, job postings, and personals, is mostly free. The new regulations are meant to curtail the number of illicit ads, but this is the second case in less than a year in which Craigslist has made headlines. Last April, a former medical student named Philip Markoff used the site to meet several young women, whom he attacked. One of them, Julissa Brisman, was shot and killed during an encounter with Markoff.

Craigslist has been cooperating with investigators in Casper.

 

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